Ctenodactylidae – Gundis

These Roly-poly rodents are commonly known as Gundi or comb rats, found in northern Asia and Africa

The endearing nickname “Gundi” may evoke fond feelings for those with a soft spot for rodents, and rightfully so, as these captivating creatures belong to the family Ctenodactylidae and are renowned for their unique adaptations and behaviors. Found predominantly in rocky, arid regions, gundis boast distinctive physical characteristics, including short, fluffy tails, stout bodies, and diminutive legs, which enable them to navigate their rugged habitats with ease.

Contrary to popular belief, gundis are not strictly nocturnal creatures; rather, they exhibit crepuscular activity patterns, meaning they are active during both dawn and dusk. This behavioral flexibility allows them to capitalize on favorable environmental conditions and avoid the scorching heat of the midday sun. Emerging from their rocky hideaways at the break of dawn, gundis engage in a variety of activities, including foraging for food, socializing with colony members, and engaging in sunbathing rituals to regulate their body temperature.

Sunbathing plays a crucial role in the thermoregulation of gundis, as they bask in the warmth of the morning sun to elevate their body temperature to an optimal level. Once warmed up, gundis strategically move between sunlit areas and shaded retreats throughout the day, effectively managing their body heat and avoiding overheating in the harsh desert environment. This behavioral adaptation underscores the remarkable resilience of gundis in adapting to the challenges of their arid habitats.

In addition to their thermoregulatory behaviors, gundis exhibit complex social structures and communication systems within their colonies. These sociable rodents often form tight-knit groups comprising several hundred individuals, utilizing a diverse repertoire of vocalizations and calls to communicate with one another. From warning calls to territorial displays, gundis employ a sophisticated system of vocal cues to coordinate group activities, defend territories, and maintain social cohesion within their colonies.